Authentic Lab

The impact of new technologies on furniture Cassina and carlorattiassociati for the Our Universe project.

The first floor of the Cassina showroom in Milan transforms into an experimental laboratory during the Salone del Mobile thanks to the brand’s collaboration with the Turin and Boston-based architectural practice carlorattiassociati.

Times change, furniture design changes: seven prototypes of conceptual furniture
Over the past decades digital and networked technologies have changed the way we live, work, access knowledge, meet and get to know each other. Our Universe brings together seven prototypes of conceptual furniture that have been developed to investigate and demonstrate the impact of digital and technological progress on furniture design for the home. Cassina’s intention is to respond to this new way of living, exploring and further experimenting, with the ultimate aim of putting the pieces into future production with the collaboration of carlorattiassociati.

Our Universe research
In researching and studying these living items for the Our Universe project, carlorattiassociati and Cassina have focused their work on three levels.

1. Production processes evolve thanks to the development of new technologies: this can be seen as something akin to a third industrial revolution. Digital modelling and fabrication allow quick and clean production processes that join design and architecture with the construction industry through the use of 3D modelling software and CNC machines. The entire fabrication system is interactive, integrated and seamless. Machines may be able to make almost anything, anywhere. Open software and open hardware, as well as Creative Commons and Copyleft, allow new sharing and knowledge opportunities.

2. We are changing our habits due to the ability that devices have of interacting with us: as a consequence of this so-called digital revolution, our belongings, our homes and even our cities have acquired the ability to "talk to" us. The large number of electronic devices that have become part of our daily lives not only radically change our way of living but in due course the design profession as a whole.

3. Technology physical integrates with furniture design to provide new functions and services: analysis of the changes that have taken place in our daily lives and habits has informed our understanding of the development of living and working spaces in contemporary times, permitting us to apply it to the progress of furniture design for today’s homes and offices. These new designs (or “nouveau meubles”) are adaptable according to the users’ needs and desires, digitally augmenting space for the augmented man (today’s “homme nouveau”) and his mobility, flexibility and freedom.